Stumbling Upon Talent: Jack Man Friday

I’m going to admit that I’m not a music person. I mean, obviously I listen to music and I know who’s on the airwaves, but I don’t listen to the lyrics, I don’t go to gigs and music is not ‘my life’.

But there is something about that moment when you hear a musician for the first time and you know that you’ve stumbled upon something really special; in my case it was a busker named Jack Man Friday.

This story is somewhat ironic: I was walking through Sydney’s The Rocks on Australia Day and saw a sign that said something about a karaoke competition happening to my right, luckily for me I stubbornly walked past it because I saw a bit of a crowd ahead and wondered if the sign’s directions were wrong.

Coming up to the newly formed semi circle, I saw a young guy with a hand on his guitar and some sort of apparatus beneath his feet; did karaoke just go high tech?

And then it began. Jack started to build his song up, yes build, by singing a tune, beat boxing or doing something else that I myself would not be capable of doing, and then recording it onto his magical apparatus which in turn created the sound on a loop. What Jack was doing in front of me on a street with I don’t think even a power point, was creating music that I thought could only be done in a record studio… by people in gold chains… and lots of buttons and flicks on a table.

But there’s more. After completing essentially the backing vocals and music to his own song, Jack began to sing. Now there are a lot of musicians out there and a few of them can even sing, but how many of them stop you in your tracks? How many of them actually make you stop and stand and listen without checking your phone three times in the middle of the song. How many actually make you want to buy their CD right there and then?

Jack Man Friday adjusting the magical looper

Jack’s music is soulful, insightful, passionate and most of all good. Watching as each song is created brings you one step closer into Jack Man Friday’s world as you sit there for the 5, 10, 20 minutes and allow yourself to become absorbed in the music. You can’t say that for many artists now can you?

I stumbled upon Jack one more time at the Taste Festival in Sydney (read: my ears perked up at a mysterious sound and I was drawn to the white tent only to find out that I was lucky enough to see Jack Man Friday again) and he was absolutely just as brilliant as the last time.

If you ever wanted to be “the first” to discover a relatively unknown artist that will hit the big time then this is your chance. I have put a little play list together of the songs that I recorded so that you can hear the magic happen for yourself – don’t skip the beginning of the clips as the looping process is part of the show. The first two clips are from Australia Day and are more acoustic and the next four are from Taste, they are a little more upbeat if that’s what you prefer.

Enjoy and don’t forget to share with your friends!

2 thoughts on “Stumbling Upon Talent: Jack Man Friday

  1. Mike Micanopy

    Well, it’s not news that people can “build up” a song using some kind of looping device. They’ve been around for years. And not everyone is enamoured of the “skill” or “talent” that it takes to sing and play over a manufactured backing track. It’s too easy to do (compared with playing live with other human beings and having to fit in with the unpredictable things that they might do at any moment) amd it always sounds sterile. Just another form of atificial “music” to go with all of the othere that are around today. Hey, make me a milkshake and a hot dog ….

    1. Cricket's Aunty Post author

      I’m sure that Jack isn’t the only person in the world to own this devise, but I guess I just never came across this type of music making and it was kind of mesmerising to watch. I can’t really say what’s harder or easier as I am competent in neither but what I can say is that I liked what I heard and I know what you mean by “sterile” music but have a click through some of the Clips that I uploaded – he’s playing a guitar in the second one and has a pretty good voice so whilst I guess the ‘gadget’ attracted my attention, I stayed back for the overall music which I found to be not too bad at all!


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